This paper presents the results of a study on the thermal conductivity of a soft saturated clay (Bangkok clay) carried out in relation to an investigation into using thermal treatment to enhance the consolidation process of soft soils. The thermal conductivity of clay specimens was measured in the laboratory using a steady state method (divided bar test) and a transient state method (needle probe test). In general, the laboratory test results show that the thermal conductivity increased with the increase in soil density. However, the needle probe test was found to yield greater thermal conductivities than those derived from the divided bar test. Furthermore, to assess the validity of the laboratory test results, the heat transfer results obtained from a full-scale embankment test that employed prefabricated vertical thermo-drains (PVTD) were simulated numerically using the laboratory determined thermal conductivity values. The numerical analysis indicates that the field thermal conductivity was close to the value obtained from the needle probe test. However, it was also found that the changes in thermal conductivity values obtained from the two laboratory methods did not impact significantly on heat flow behaviour, suggesting that the two methods are acceptable for characterizing the thermal conductivity of soils. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Heat flow
- Thermal properties